Vanessa Pappas, General Manager, TikTok US
Millions of Americans come to TikTok every day to express themselves freely and creatively. People on our app value authentic content, and we do too – which is why our teams work diligently to uphold our Community Guidelines and keep misleading, harmful, or deceptive content and accounts off TikTok.
To strengthen these efforts, we're announcing three new measures to combat misinformation, disinformation, and other content that may be designed to disrupt the 2020 election.
- We're updating our policies on misleading content to provide better clarity on what is and isn't allowed on TikTok.
- We're broadening our fact-checking partnerships to help verify election-related misinformation, and adding an in-app reporting option for election misinformation.
- We're working with experts including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to protect against foreign influence on our platform.
While TikTok isn't the go-to app to follow news or politics, we're focused on supporting our users with education and authoritative information on important public issues. This is why we partnered with NAMLE to launch our latest safety video series geared towards media literacy, and we continue to provide authoritative COVID-19 information and resources for our community.
Enhancing our misinformation policies
Our Community Guidelines prohibit misinformation that could cause harm to our community or the larger public, including content that misleads people about elections or other civic processes, content distributed by disinformation campaigns, and health misinformation. We always strive to be more transparent about our policies and content moderation, and today we're updating these guidelines to better reflect the scope of our existing policies. These updates were developed with industry experts, and the language reflects input from members of our Content Advisory Council.
- We're adding a policy which prohibits synthetic or manipulated content that misleads users by distorting the truth of events in a way that could cause harm. Our intent is to protect users from things like shallow or deep fakes, so while this kind of content was broadly covered by our guidelines already, this update makes the policy clearer for our users.
- We're making our policy around coordinated inauthentic behavior more transparent. Our Community Guidelines already prohibit content from disinformation campaigns, and this addition makes our stance against coordinated inauthentic behavior unambiguous: "Do not engage in coordinated inauthentic activities (such as the creation of accounts) to exert influence and sway public opinion while misleading individuals, our community or the larger public about the account's identity, location or purpose."
Our Community Guidelines and Terms of Service apply to everyone who uses TikTok and all content they post. We use a mix of technology and human moderation to enforce these policies, including by removing content, banning accounts, and making it more difficult to find harmful content, like misinformation and conspiracy theories, in recommendations or search. Technology helps us identify inauthentic behavior, patterns, and accounts dedicated to spreading misleading or spammy content. Our content moderation team reviews reported content, proactively identifies potential misinformation, responds to emerging trends or threats, and works with our fact-checking partners to verify whether content is false or misleading.
We don't accept political ads, because the nature of paid political ads isn't something we think fits with the experience our users expect on TikTok.
Expanding reporting options and fact-checking
Working with misinformation, disinformation, and security experts is critical to successfully combating harmful content and accounts. In addition to our Content Advisory Council, which includes experts on deep fakes, free speech, inclusive AI, and more, we're forming important partnerships to better stay on top of emerging threats and respond quickly and responsibly.
- We're expanding our partnerships with PolitiFact and Lead Stories to fact check potential misinformation related to the 2020 US election. Fact-checking helps confirm that we remove verified misinformation and reduce mistakes in the content moderation process. We're building on our current partnerships with these organizations that already cover misinformation related to COVID-19, climate change, and more.
- In the coming weeks, we'll be adding an election misinformation option to our in-app reporting feature so that people can easily report content or accounts for review, and introducing an election information center to connect people to authoritative information.
Countering foreign interference
In 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established the Countering Foreign Influence Task Force (CFITF) as part of the National Risk Management Center within the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency. We're proud to work with the CFITF to help stop the threat and dangers of foreign influence on elections. In addition to sharing insight about possible disinformation campaigns across the industry, the task force connects local election officials with online platforms and law enforcement so that we can help protect the integrity of the vote.
We're also working with a number of industry-leading threat assessment platforms to bolster our ability to detect inauthentic activity and improve our safeguards against it.
We're committed to being transparent about how we execute our policies and safeguard our platform. With our Transparency and Accountability Center now available for virtual tours, along with the release of regular Transparency Reports and our new Transparency webpage, we aim to give users, lawmakers, and experts unprecedented insight into how we work to keep TikTok safe and secure.
Misinformation, disinformation, and threats to civic engagement are challenges no platform can ignore. By working together as an industry with experts and civil society organizations, we can better protect the civic processes that are so essential to our users. We'll continue to share updates and keep our community updated along the way.